Former Formula One driver and Paralympic champion Alex Zanardi has had a fourth operation in an intensive care unit in Italy after suffering serious head injuries in a road race.
The 53-year-old was transferred to Milan’s San Raffaele hospital last week and is now in a ‘stable but serious’ condition after clinical and radiological tests showed that his latest surgery had been successful.
In a statement, the hospital said: ‘The patient underwent a delicate neurosurgical procedure performed by Professor Pietro Mortini, director of the Operative Unit of Neurosurgery, for the treatment of some late complications due to primary head injury.’
Zanardi underwent three operations at Siena’s Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital after being placed in an induced coma following the accident while he was racing a handbike in the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19.
The four-time Paralympic gold medallist was hit by a truck while his handbike was on the wrong side of the road.
He was moved to the Villa Beretta centre in northern Italy two weeks ago where his condition worsened and became unstable.
Speaking last week, Zanardi’s son, Niccolo, told the Corriere della Sera: ‘It is no longer life-threatening and that means a lot but we are prepared for the long road ahead.
‘We are also happy that his recovery went much faster than expected. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise – after all, it is my father. That man’s energy is incredible – he’s extraordinarily strong.
‘What matters now is that we can communicate with him again. I’m sure he’s going to make it.
‘One day we’ll talk about this and he can tell this story to me and his grandchildren. I have faith in that and so does my mother.’
Zanardi lost both his legs following a crash in 2001 when he was taking part in the American Memorial at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Germany.
He had retured to CART racing after leaving Formula One where he had raced for Jordan, Minardi, Lotus and Williams.